Inspired by Debbie’s beautiful letter in the Garden island, Kimo’s blog site and Joyce’s comment, I chose today to write an awesome true story about Ari and vitamin C. It combines good health, animal lovers, nutrition, and aging graciously thereby, in its way, hatching four neat butterflies from one single cocoon.

The story begins almost exactly one year ago when Ari coliced. Staggering with exhaustion, my daughter and I had walked him for three days and nights, never leaving his side, as his finicky digestive system stubbornly refused to function. He was in no pain, but he was in trouble. Calling the vet, who drove out in the middle of the night, Scot sedated and tubed him, that’s a vet’s term for shoving a hose down a horse’s mouth and pumping in oil to grease the skids in his eighty foot digestive tract. However, the next morning, when even that hadn’t moved his bowels, Scott came out again and told us Ari’s only chance to survive was surgery-a five-figure vet bill. A moment’s hesitation, a nod, and we loaded him in a trailer and drove quickly to Scott’s clinic in the middle of the night. I went along, of course, watching the entire operation, with the aid of a bottle of Chardonnay I pinched from Scott’s Dad’s refrigerator, as Ari sailed through this major event with colors flying. There’s a really neat story here that I’ll save for another time, but I insisted on taking him home ten days later in spite of some infection along the incisions and promised Scott I’d give Ari two doses of antibiotics every day during the lengthy, scary, four-month recovery period. Home, alone, it started out badly. Ari refused it. He fought me like a mother tiger fights to save her cub. So I gave in. My thinking being, he did not need that kind of stress. All that wasted energy must go into the most important thing for him to do, make it through. Heal.

Instead I started giving him vitamin C. I made a mash, he loved the taste, he asked for it, and so, in great secrecy, we began the healing process. Ari, in the middle of this, would even eat oranges. Later Scott said, vet school talk, “Horses don’t eat oranges,” and I replied, “Don’t tell Ari.  He didn’t get that far in the book.”

Three months later, all incisions free of infection, growing hair, scars disappearing, Scott came out to see if Ari could become a horse again, on the land, instead of being confined to the recovery  paddock I’d built for him close to the kitchen end of the house where I could watch him 24/7. Scott was pleased with Ari’s progress and together we opened the gate and let Ari out to run and jump and play. Which he did. It was then I handed Scott a gift, all the bottles of antibiotics Ari hadn’t touched during the ordeal.  Ari knew what he needed to heal and I listened.


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